It’s been a growing trend among strong brands to open stores on prestigious places to promote and show case their products. Some companies however does it a lot better than others… and so far Apple takes the number one place from my point of view. Last week we went to London and while browsing around town, we passed by the Apple store on Regent Street. Just as so many other brand stores it’s a cool looking spacious place – nothing really different there.
The prime difference however compared to so many other brand stores is that you can actually use the products – try them for real – and there are plenty of laptops, desktops, ipods and all other goods they sell, so you actually have a reasonable chance of using them.
All the laptops had Internet connection, a pretty large software collection (iWork, iLife and other stuff) and it even seemed there was a collection of media files so you could get a feel for iPhoto, iTunes and the rest of the applications.
I’m sure that Apple isn’t the only company making cool stores where you can actually try the products hands on, but it really isn’t that usual as one should think. Try visiting a Nokia Concept Store and see how many phone that are available to touch and actually use – most of the phone in the (now closed) Nokia Store in Copenhagen was locked away in glass cages and could only be seen no touched.
The “see but not touch” concept also exist in many store where they sell tv-sets and flat panel displays. Any odd monkey can usually make a picture on a video screen look nice with a video feed, but using the remote and playing around is to me a key part of the experience and you should be able to do that, when browsing for a new tv – and do it on your own without a sales rep guarding you.